Tag Archives: Amazon

“Crowdsourcing For Dummies” Released

29 May

Image © 2013 Daily Crowdsource

The title says it all. With the release of “Crowdsourcing For Dummies”, crowdsourcing now has its own entry in the popular “for dummies” series. Add this to the fact that crowdfunding is now enough of “a thing” to be parodied, and I’d say that crowdsourcing has officially and finally landed in the public eye. About time!

Daily Crowdsource is on the scene with details about the instructional book:

Over the past year, Daily Crowdsource writer, Crowd Leader, author, Professor, Crowdopolis speaker, & IEEE Computer Society President, David Alan Grier, has been compiling his knowledge in his latest publication, Crowdsourcing For Dummies. It’s a plain-English guide to help you understand crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, & open innovation.

I’m excited about this release because I’ve been communicating with Grier throughout the writing cycle & know he’s put a lot of time into it. Here’s what his latest book will teach you:

  • Plan and launch your crowdsourcing project
  • Find the right platform for your needs
  • Promote your project and attract the right audience
  • Manage and motivate your crowd to get the best results

David Allen Grier is a leader in the field and highly influential when it comes to the topic of crowdsourcing, so the fact that he’s the driving force behind this book makes me very confident about the accuracy of the information contained within. I’m undoubtedly going to pick up a copy as soon as I get my next paycheck. If you’re a fan of this blog, consider the same.


Amazon Announces Kindle Worlds, Pays For Fanfiction

24 May
Image © 1996-2013, Amazon.com, Inc.

Image © 1996-2013, Amazon.com, Inc.

Amazon announced on Wednesday that they would soon be launching a new service called Kindle Worlds, which would allow fanfiction authors to publish their works on the Kindle store and receive royalties from sales. They’ve made deals with the owners of the original content (“World Licensors”) to allow independent authors to create their own stories and characters within that world and share the profit from their creations. Depending on the word count, authors can earn between 20 to 35% of all base net revenue.

A Great Leap Forward

This is an incredible, game-changing, home run of an idea, and it’s stories like this that make me appreciate how great crowdsourcing is. As I’ve mentioned before, crowdsourcing is often at its best when the controlling company taps into a crowd that is feverishly zealous about their passion, but has no official platform to share those creations.

Amazon recognizes that there is a huge base of authors who are wildly passionate about their fanfiction, and an even bigger base of readers who tear through the world-expanding content at a voracious rate. Kindle Worlds will be a great way for the World Licensors to expand their worlds, make further profit, and gain new ideas for official releases. Meanwhile, the fanfiction authors gain notoriety and actually receive compensation for their writing. And of course, the readers are thrilled to get new stories about their favorite worlds and characters, and their buying power will provide popular authors the incentive to crank out even more content. And thanks to the robust ratings system the Kindle store already has in place, the users can also contribute their ratings to ensure that quality stories get pushed to the top and poorly-written ones are buried.

Minor Roadblocks

There are, however, a few potential downsides. Amazon has rigid content rules in place that disallow pornographic or “crossover” stories. These are unfortunately both tools that fanfiction authors utilize with extremely high frequency. Crossover stories allow different fictional worlds to collide and interact, and erotic literature is often a staple for source content that doesn’t openly display the more intimate details of characters’ relationships. These restrictions aren’t deal-breaking though; the “no porn” rule simply relegates stories to the equivalent of R ratings, which is more than enough to provide sufficiently steamy content. And we may see the crossover ban lifted as Amazon gains the rights to more and more creative properties.

The major worrying features are that the World Licensors gain the creative rights to any new narrative elements that the authors create, and can then use them in official releases without compensating their original creator. I can see why they’d do this; the aim of Kindle Worlds is to collaboratively expand the Worlds and allow anyone the use of newly-created narrative elements. It still feels kind of shitty to not compensate the authors, though.

There is the additional issue that people already create, share, and read fanfiction for no charge on highly popular websites like Fanfiction.net. I see this is being a minor speedbump, though. People have proven through services like Netflix and iTunes that they are more than willing to pay for TV, movies, and music that they could have gotten for free if it’s the right price and the right level of accessibility. I don’t see a reason to believe that books will be any different.

Power to the People

Ultimately, this is a great idea that mines an underutilized resource to accomplish what is essentially a noble goal: paying people for their efforts. In this economy, where jobs are hard to come by and people make money where they can, I’d be willing to bet that some fanfiction authors are currently jumping up and down in excitement at the prospect of finally getting paid for their work. Plus, bringing fanfiction into the public eye might change the general opinion that it’s all poorly-written schlock with no entertainment value.

Well done, Amazon, and please do hurry up on obtaining the licenses to as many intellectual properties as you can. The Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl are cool, but they don’t exactly make me want to rush out to buy a Kindle.

CrowdsUnite Is Your One-Stop Shop for Crowdfunding

16 Jan


Attention entrepreneurs! CrowdsUnite has emerged as a deadly useful new service, making its way onto the scene with the intention of connecting you with the perfect platform for crowdfunding your dream business, product or artistic endeavor.

What is crowdfunding, you may ask? A fair question; it’s a topic I’ve only addressed a couple times on this blog. Crowdfunding is a specific type of crowdsourcing that aims to change the way that large projects receive funding. Instead of the people behind these projects appealing to an official board or a wealthy corporation for their startup money, they turn the challenge to the “crowd”.

Crowdfunding sites typically consist of a large collection of project plans, and allow individuals browsing the site to donate money to projects they wish to see carried out. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two of the most popular of these brand of sites; Kickstarter users alone pledged over $319 million in 2012.

In addition, users typically receive some sort of compensation in exchange for their donation to up-and-coming projects. Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects offer prizes to donors depending on how much money they chip in; the looser your purse-strings, the greater the reward. Other sites offer a return on your investment once the project takes off, and still others even offer equity, allowing you to share in your project’s success.

CrowdsUnite aims to become the main compendium of crowdfunding sites. “What Amazon did for retail, we want to do for the crowdfunding industry,” says Alex Feldman, the CEO and founder of CrowdsUnite. Since many crowdfunding platforms are specifically geared towards certain types of projects, and since more of them keep popping up every day, a single place where they are all collected, sorted, and categorized is extremely useful. In the future, Feldman says he hopes that CrowdsUnite will be the first stop for any individual who wants to find the perfect platform to start their crowdfunding campaign.

The site’s features, while constantly improving, are already quite robust. All of the most popular and successful platforms have detailed profile pages on CrowdsUnite, where potential campaign managers can view information such as fee structure, the nature of how the platform handles compensation, and if the platform is specific to certain countries. Additionally, CrowdUnite’s visitors can view reviews, comments, and articles  for each platform, submitted by their fellow users. Possibly the most useful feature is the ability to compare two or more platforms side-by-side to see how they stack up against each other.

If you’d like to help CrowdUnite on its way to becoming the go-to Wikipedia for crowdfunding, the best thing to do it hop over to the site and register an account. Fleshing out the information on various platforms by submitting content is a great way to get your favorite platform noticed and discover new ones. Feldman also adds that he is looking for business partners; if you are an industry professional or consultant that wants to explore the crowdfunding space, the relationship that CrowdsUnite holds with these platform administrators would be useful to you.

Make Your Idea A Reality With Quirky

17 Jul

I’m a sucker for platforms and campaigns that give people power where they previously had none, so it was practically a given that I would write about Quirky, a sort of supercharged Kickstarter for product designs.


The idea is novel and has a lot of room for creative depth, but everything else is handled in a very standard fashion. Product ideas, as polished as 3D models or as crude as hand-drawn doodles, are submitted to Quirky and presented for public endorsement. You can vote on products you like, and if they get enough attention, they’re manufactured and sold on a wide scale thanks to Quirky’s deals with retailers like Toys R Us, Best Buy, Target, and Amazon.com. The creator of the product gets a very nice share of the profits, of course.

Like I said, as far as the process goes there isn’t a lot of new ground trodden.  We’ve seen a lot of platforms conform to the go-to “submit ideas, gather votes, they become a reality” process. What determines their success usually boils down to how easy the platform is to use and how tangible or exciting the results are.

To this end, I think we’ve got a winner with Quirky. They’ve already invented some really cool products, and more are always on the way. If you’ve been looking for the perfect place to launch your new product idea, Quirky is there to help you make it a reality, and yourself a rich person (hopefully).

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